Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Gantz | ガンツ [ Movie Review ] ★★★1/2

The Pitch

Gantz has been in publication as a Manga series since 2000 and is currently going on strong. This gory manga depicts a group of people who were plucked right before their death and given a mission to kill aliens with futuristic weaponry. Folks who had not read the manga and wondered about it's popularity could finally get a taste of Gantz with the two part movies adaption.

To sweeten the deal, this film stars Kazunari Ninomiya and Kenichi Matsuyama as the two protagonists of Gantz. Kazunari Ninomiya career in Japan ranges from being a singer, songwriter, actor and radio host. For movie fans and the rest of the world, he probably more well known for his performance as Private Saigo in Clint Eastwood's Letters from Iwo Jima.

Kenichi Matsuyama on the other hand, has been making regular appearance in recent Japanese movies that were shown in Singapore. Movies such as the Death Note franchise (as the iconic L), Detroit Metal City (switching from Johannes Krauser II and Souichi Negishi), Kamui Gaiden (as the reluctant ninja Kamui), Kaiji the Ultimate Gambler (doing a supporting role) and the recent Norwegian Wood which was shown just a couple of weeks ago. With these two popular Japanese actors / idols fronting the adaption of a popular manga series, it's intriguing to see what Gantz the movie has to offer.

The Plot

Kei Kurono (Kazunari Ninomiya) and Masaru Kato (Kenichi Matsuyama) tried to help a man who had fallen onto a subway tracks and after saving the man, they were hit by the oncoming train. Instead of dying a gruesome death, they were surprise to find themselves intact and teleported into a Tokyo apartment with a strange looking black sphere at one end of the room. They soon realized that they were not alone. The others were equally bewildered and no one could give a concrete explanation on  how they got there and what's going on.

After sometime, the black sphere known as "Gantz" was activated and presented a weird mission to the people in the apartment. Gantz then opened up and to their surprise, there a bald naked man with a breathing apparatus  They also found suits and a range of weapons inside three racks that protruding from Gantz. Before they could figure out what's going on, they were teleported back out to a Tokyo suburb to commence their alien hunting mission.

The Perspective

As a newbie to the Gantz story, this movie was an entertaining introduction to the world of Gantz. The premise for Gantz was pure escapism and high octane adventure that does not shy away from gore. The concept of hunting aliens in a wide variety of forms with a range of futuristic weaponry would appeal to fans of gaming, manga and fantasy.

Perfect Distraction
Not forgetting the babelicious eye candy Kei Kishimoto (Natsuna Watanabe) who provides a nice distraction from all the alien hunting going on in Gantz.

What the movie didn't do that well was the characterization of the Kei Kurono and Masaru Kato. Both came across as whinny as they struggle with their respective issues. The whole issue with Kei Kurono's childhood dreams of being a hero and Masaru Kato's being overly worried about his brother just slow down the pace of the movie. Instead of being excited about their new powers and thinking of how to  survive the next mission, they spend their time mopping about with their past problems. Personally it just felt like the wrong genre to explore such personal issues.

But overall, Gantz was fun and a great introduction to the manga series. It might inspire one to pick up the manga to see what's missing from the movie adaptation. It also wet one's anticipation for the sequel Gantz Perfect Answer. Let's hope that Gantz does well in Singapore so that the distributor would bring in Gantz Perfect Answer.

Kei Kishimoto (Natsuna Watanabe) So Sexy and Kawaii that I am going to post her picture again!

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